20032023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Biography

CURRENT POSITIONS

Co-director of the Integrated Neurogenic Mechanisms Laboratory with Dr Daniel Poole and Dr Carbone in Drug Discovery Biology, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences).

Project Leader, Endosomal Signalling Program in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS).

Chair, Basic Pain Research Special Interest Group, Australian Pain Society.

 

BROAD RESEARCH PROGRAM

1) Location-specific control of G Protein-Coupled Receptors: GPCRs are known to traffic throughout the cell and mediate signalling responses dependeing on their intracellular location. We aim to define the importance of receptor localisation in signalling outcomes of relevance to pain and inflammation, and optimise our control of these events through the use of novel drug delivery approaches.  

2) Defining cellular mechanisms that lead to pain in Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB): EB is rare, painful blistering skin disorder caused by mutations in genes that maintain and strengthen the Dermal-Epidermal junction. We are currently studying a transgenic mouse with a mutation in Collagen 7, that shows elevated and sustained sensitivity to thermal and mechanical stimuli, to define new therapeutic targets and offer alternative treatments to mainstay analgesics (opioids, NSAIDS) that are generally shown to be ineffective for treating pain.

3) Defining the importance of mechano-sensing ion channels in pain and inflammation: TRPV4 and Piezo-1 ion channels respond to mechanical forces induced by flow (e.g. blood vessels), cell motility (e.g. immune cells) or physical (touch and stretch) processes required to control bowel movements. We are interested in characerising how these channels respond to their environment, communicate with eachother and downstream signalling pathways to maintain gut motility, macrophage phenotypic changes and blood or lymph barrier integrity that may be altered by chronic inflammation.

 

Research Impact: 

By identifying receptor signalling processes that control pain and/or inflammation in central and peripheral nervous systems we hope to identify new therapeutic targets and develop specialised drug delviery systems to provide effective alternatives to opioids. 

By defining neuro-immune interactions in the enteric nervous system that promote detection and recovery from inflammatory insults in the GI tract, we hope to address a range of diseases associated with disorders of the gut (Hirschsprung Disease, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease).

Expertise: Cell signalling, molecular pharmacology, live cell imaging and analyses, protein engineering/expression/purification, nanomedicine/novel drug delivery and working with clinical teams.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research area keywords

  • endosomal biology
  • pain signalling
  • GPCR biology
  • drug delivery
  • chemical biology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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